Beckmann: Hillary Clinton is getting a pass on Iraq

Frank Beckmann
Special to The Detroit News

It sure hasn’t taken long for the 2016 presidential race to reveal the mainstream media strategy for supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton and playing “gotcha” with potential Republican opponents.

Big media, and not just George Stephanopoulos at ABC, is making the early stages of the campaign about former President George W. Bush and the war in Iraq.

The common questions for Sen. Marco Rubio and other contenders, including Govs. Jeb Bush and Scott Walker, has been, “If you knew then what you know now, would you have supported the invasion of Iraq?”

That’s a valid question only if the respondent has some mystical powers of foresight.

If you knew then what you know now, would you have bought shares of IBM?

If you knew then what you know now, would you have bought that GM vehicle with the ignition switch problem?

One can endlessly play the “what if” game, especially if no perspective is given and ignores the fact that the subject whose answer is sought had no choice in the matter in the first place.

Interesting that the same questions are not being posed to Clinton, or other Democrats who actually did have impact on Iraq policy and other choices made by our federal government.

Clinton has been quick to say she regrets having supported the Iraq war resolution in October of 2002, but let’s remember that she justified her yes vote less than a week beforehand by saying, “Intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program.”

Additionally, taking it one step further and adopting a claim she now disputes, then-Sen. Clinton said, “He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al-Qaida members.”

And she wasn’t alone.

Clinton was joined in approving the Iraq war resolution by 76 other senators, a list that included 28 other Democrats — John Kerry, Joe Biden, Diane Feinstein, Chuck Schumer, and Harry Reid, among others — who echoed remarks similar to hers.

Even Michigan Sen. Carl Levin said Hussein was “building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them,” though he voted against going to war.

The “what if?” question on Iraq should mean nothing to Americans considering the qualifications of potential presidential candidates.

What should matter is the record of what they did, not what they might have done given a different set of circumstances.

For instance, in addition to her policy actions on Iraq, Clinton should be asked, “If you knew then what you know now about al-Qaida’s growth in Libya, would you have supported the overthrow and murder of Moammar Gadhafi?”

Or try this one. “If you knew then what you know now, would you have provided the security resources that had been requested by the late Christopher Stevens when he was working for you as our Ambassador in Benghazi?”

Further, now that Judicial Watch has secured and revealed an intelligence report delivered to Clinton the morning after Stevens and three others were killed in an al-Qaida attack on the Benghazi embassy, “If you knew then what you know now, would you have lied to the families of the victims about who murdered their loved ones and why, rather than promoting a phony story about the impact of an obscure online video?”

These are very real issues, not fabricated campaign memes being perpetuated right now by a left wing media bloc invested in supporting the Democratic candidate.

A Bloomberg News interview session with a panel of Iowa Democrats this week revealed that not one of the 10 participants could name a single Clinton accomplishment during her time as secretary of state.

A similar result would likely be found in an interview of all voters, but that won’t garner the same attention in our partisan press as a stumbling answer by Jeb Bush to a hypothetical question.

Call me old-fashioned, but the actual record of candidates should matter more than these fabricated issues.

Our president ought to have some resume of success, and ought to be capable of setting up more than one email account on a mobile device as well, another in the laundry list of tests that Clinton has failed.

Frank Beckmann is host of “The Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR-AM (760) from 9 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday.